Research on web site structure: Broad, deep, or what?

Article by Ron Scheer discussing usability tests which provide more insight into the depth versus breadth debate. The first test was done at the University of Maryland and a follow-up was done by Microsoft to test the results.

    Both studies support a growing belief that breadth beats depth. What they don't show is what kind of breadth is best.

    In one study subjects prefer starting narrow and then getting wider. In another they prefer starting wide and getting narrower. The subject matter in each case was very different; this may have been a factor.

    Although the researchers attempted to make the links mutually exclusive, we know that the meanings of words are not the same for everyone. The way people group information in their own gray matter depends on the way they see the world. You can group lions and house cats together as felines. The other guy may group them separately as wild animals and pets.

    For a long time, it seems, creating navigation for web sites is going to remain something of an art. It's going to take science a while to catch up.

thanks blackbelt jones

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

microsoft link

two seconds at google found the missing microsoft article in html and pdf


Thanks, Eric (?). I had already linked to the MS paper earlier and didn't search the archives for the link. -m